Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

2019 results show little improvement, great need for renewed efforts

Statewide, 2019 assessment results show little improvement compared to 2018. Here, I’ll look at reading, math, and science results, using those trends to call for major renewal of our statewide efforts to build excellence with equity.

So, here’s a look at elementary reading.

That’s a pattern of very little change:

  • Results for all students have not moved at all 2018 to 2019
  • English learners had improvement of more than one point
  • Students with identified disabilities and Asian students had declines of more than one point
  • The rest of the breakout shows changes of less than one point, some up and some down

Here’s a shorter version, showing just the changes, but adding in the math and science patterns.

Here’s middle school, with even less change:

And here’s high school, with more drops of more than one point, especially in mathematics and a just a few more improvements worth celebrating in reading and science.

To see the detail of how each group scored each year, check out this three-page display.

I don’t for a minute think that KPREP or ACT can be the sole measure of Kentucky’s educational progress. I’m excited by powerful work going on around the state to build strengths that quick statewide assessments can’t evaluate, including work on problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and artistic creation and performance.

But even seeing these assessments as partial measures, this isn’t the pattern we should want and work for.

I believe our students can do importantly stronger work in the kinds of reading, math, and science our tests do check. Especially:

  • I’m not ready to settle for another generation of this kind of failure to build on and build up the capacities of Kentucky’s African American and Latino students
  • I’m not willing to believe that we’ve already maxed out what we can do to equip our English learners and students with identified disabilities.
  • I don’t think we’ve done all we can possibly do to level the playing field for our economically disadvantaged students

I am ready to get serious about what our educators need to change these results for students and build excellence beyond what these tests can show us. I’ll put these ideas on the table as my starting points:

  • Resources matter
  • Time to collaborate on designing, implementing, evaluating, and improving instructional changes can be a great help.
  • Consistent state expectations, with much less “policy churn,” can make that sort of deep work far easier, if we can ever agree to that kind of stability
  • Respect is always important, and recognition that we are asking educators for sustained, challenging, creative, important work is surely called for
  • Community engagement to understand the issues, develop the strategies, and participate in the hard work must become far stronger

Lots of other thought, from many other perspectives, should be part of this conversation. What’s key for me is that we need not accept change as small as we see in this year’s assessment data for our rising generation. We can build Ed Prichard’s pathway to a larger life. We can, and we should.